Painter Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico City in 1907. Thanks largely to a traffic accident in her teens, Kahlo suffered lifelong health problems, and these contributed to the “pain and passion” she displayed in her works. She is probably best known for her self-portraits, a result of the isolation enforced on her by her poor health. As she herself said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”. Though she is sometimes referred to as a surrealist painter, Kahlo refuted this, saying, “They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality”.
Though she is celebrated mainly for her art, Frida Kahlo possessed an acerbic wit and was an eloquent speaker and writer as well as an artist. A collection of letters, poems and other writings have been gathered together in the book ‘Frida by Frida’ by art critic Rachel Tibol, who describes her as using “unreserved, imaginative language”. Her illustrated diary, published in 2005, more than fifty years after her death, charts the last ten years of her life and provides further examples of her incisive wit and dark humour as she reflects on her childhood, her politics and her stormy marriage to fellow Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.
Kahlo’s art has become iconic, but the legacy she left in her spoken and written words is equally fascinating. As Martha Zamora, the translator of her Cartas Apasionadas (Passionate Letters), said, Frida wrote “honestly and without reserve, employing all the vocabulary at her disposal to convey her thoughts and emotions”.
If you’re looking to improve your own Spanish vocabulary, our Intensive Spanish Courses could be just what you need.